Mike Mariola’s The Rail makes a stop in North Olmsted

1525242_10152019593624927_1663286212_nI heard some great things about The Rail but just never was able to make it past Swenson’s when I drove that far south.  Burger aficionados “meat” the new calf in town.  The Rail just opened up at Great Northern Mall by the new movie theater and it is anything but a mall joint.  It is a beautiful space with floor to ceiling windows, that overlook the parking lot unfortunately, however the windows are pretty impressive.  It was fun watching the snow fall while we were warm and cozy inside.  There is an upstairs loft with table seating and downstairs boasts some big booths, and a very impressive bar.

The bar features a generous selection of all local draft brews and a very impressive bottled list as well.  The focus is on Ohio here featuring Ohio beef as well.   The average burger price floats around $9.00 and sides run from $2.25 for a generous portion of Skinny Fries, $3.75 for Housemade Chips, or Onion Rings, to $6.75 for truffle instilled fries.  They feature a variety of options for the sweet tooth as well including hand-dipped shakes and malts to classic Black Cows.  The shakes range in flavors from the basic vanilla, chocolate or strawberry to the mild Mocha or Marshmallow to the wild Nutella Crunch or Peanut Butter Brownie.  The special of the month was the Candy Cane Shake.  Service was amazing the first round and the second round was decent.  The first time was speedy, attentive, friendly and educational, and the second time was speedy and friendly (no refills on soda, a little too quick on the check, never asked if we had any questions.  The place is new you need to provide education).

1463610_10152014168064927_934643904_nMy first burger was the Local Yokel.  I am a sucker for a fried egg on a burger.  I had a side of the Skinny Fries.  The burger was cooked perfect medium rare juicy and pink on the inside.  The fries were fine.  I love the Slim Jim style of fries; crispy on the outside very tasty.  The first thing you are going to do is talk about the elephant in the room.  Is the Local Yokel the Lola Burger in disguise?  No, it is not.  They are not trying to clone the Lola.  They are doing their own thing here, but at the same time you can’t help think Lola with that juicy yummy egg yolk dripping down the sides.  The Yokel comes with Swiss and thick cut bacon.  I think they trump the Lola on the Bacon with the two huge thick strips that could easily wrap around the entire sandwich.   The burger itself has amazing flavor.  It is not overly seasoned, and they obviously understand what the cooking temperatures mean.  As far as size goes, yeah it is a smaller burger.  It’s not a slider size or anything but if you are familiar with the new craft burgers you aren’t getting a giant Red Robin burger here.  What you are sacrificing in size you are gaining in local sourced fresh ground beef, and that makes all the difference in the world.  I did not leave hungry.

1455021_10152019592959927_1148388181_nThe next trip I decided on doing something everyone seems to be bitching at about to me.  I ordered the chicken at the steakhouse.  I went with a turkey burger.  I am already defending myself here but in my defense the burger I ordered was the special of the month; The Angry Bird Turkey Burger (Monterey Jack  roasted red pepper pesto, red onion, lettuce, tomato) .  If it is the special of the month they are saying TRY THIS, IT’S AWESOME!  Like any daily, weekly or monthly special it’s a limited time only thing and you kind of expect it to be rock star.  It wasn’t rock star, it was more like opening band.  It wasn’t horrible.  I ate the whole thing, but in execution it failed for me.  The turkey wasn’t seasoned enough for me and I really don’t think it was cooked to order.  I suspect that the turkey is cooked off and reheated.  If I am wrong, cool, I am not a Chef.  I am speculating.  The patty itself was a little charred on both sides, was not very juicy.  It came out warm, and if you are cooking turkey you need to be careful of temperature.  A regular burger you can pretty much carve off the cow and eat it just like that, but with turkey you need to make sure you cook it very thoroughly to avoid contamination.  It’s common knowledge obviously.  So what I got, I assume, was cooked first and reheated.  It came out too quick for a turkey burger.  The red pepper pesto was very thick and overpowering, and the tomato was limp and sad.

On the second visit my wife got the Bootlegger (aged cheddar, bourbon BBQ sauce, tobacco onions).  It was cooked perfectly (rare), and it was really amazing.  I had a bite and it seriously was all that.  The sauce was sweet, the onions were flavorful and crisp.   She had the Black Cow and it was delicious and served in a ball jar.  I also tried out the onion rings and they were crispy and fried to golden perfection.  The portion on the rings was just okay for $3.75.  I think we got like 6 or 7 of them, naked, no sauce options outside of what is provided on the tables (ketchup, mustard; yellow and stadium, Heinz 57 and malt vinegar).  The check with tip came to about $40.  That was with the shake, two burgers, two skinny fries, and an order of rings.  So if you are looking for a cheap burger Red Robin is across the street.  If you are looking for quality you can come here and pay a few bucks more.   Overall absolutely worth the price here.  If I ordered the chicken at the steakhouse forgive me, but I love a turkey burger.  My favorite burger is a California burger and I just had a regular burger the previous visit only a couple days earlier.  If it’s on the menu it’s fair game, and outside of that turkey burger I have zero complaints.

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